How ecommerce platform Sellfy drives 30% of new customers through affiliate marketing

Partner education and program automation through PartnerStack enabled Sellfy's team to focus on growth, not maintenance.

“I know many businesses that will get set up with partnerships software and think they are good for life. It’s not like that. Getting the right partners is really key for the program to be successful.”

Maris Dagis
CEO and Co-Founder, Sellfy
Sellfy is an ecommerce platform with a focus on creators, like bloggers, YouTubers, musicians, artists, designers, and anyone who’s built an audience online. Sellfy helps creators earn more income from those audiences by making it easy to sell both digital products like ebooks, courses, and audio, along with physical goods like print on demand products.
Sellfy's homepage

Before starting its affiliate program, Sellfy’s sole indirect revenue channel was customer referrals. While customer referrals helped kickstart Sellfy’s indirect acquisition channel, scaling it up into a major revenue generator would require reaching outside its existing customer base to work with affiliate partners.

Maris Dagis, co-founder and CEO of Sellfy, told us: “Our customers are some of our best advocates, but it’s not their goal to promote applications and software. They're creators — they’re busy doing their own thing. They might mention us in their content or to other potential customers, but it won’t drive consistent traffic. It’s good to get started with your customer base, but you likely won’t be successful in growing exponentially with them alone. So we started to think about focusing on affiliate partners who do this as their business, actively promoting different companies and products.”

In January 2020, Sellfy hired Nikita Kuluks, their first dedicated Affiliate Manager, to focus on building out its affiliate program. Within one year, indirect revenue grew by over 10x compared to the year prior. Today, affiliate partners drive about 30% of Sellfy’s new customer acquisition.

Sellfy uses PartnerStack to manage their affiliate program, automating some of the toughest affiliate challenges like onboarding them into the program, or making sure they get paid on time.

Starting with education

Ecommerce is an extremely competitive industry, for acquiring both customers and partners. “Commissions alone aren’t enough,” said Maris. “You have to provide partners with the right information — how to write about the product, how to talk to our target audience, what makes our product different from competitors. This helps partners develop better positioning and earn more revenue, and help end users choose the best software.”

Sellfy uses PartnerStack’s campaigns feature to onboard new partners to their program, sending a series of automated emails that welcome them to the program and guide them towards educational resources.

Some of Sellfy's automated onboarding emails

The following email is the third onboarding email sent to new affiliate partners, sent three days after they sign up:

Sellfy's third partner onboarding email

A great example of Sellfy’s best-in-class partner enablement is their Affiliate Marketing Handbook, to which a lot of partner credit their first sale to! It’s in this PDF that partners can discover more about how they can be successful in Sellfy’s program. It details the varies ways to promote Sellfy, providing partners with content ideas and inspiration as well as pointers that help partners talk more confidently about the platform, from their boilerplate to succinct value propostions. Check out some of the other resources available to Sellfy partners in this Notion page

The ability to create a top-notch resource like this comes from the initiative the partnerships team takes to learn about their partners needs and preferences. This is evident throughout the partner journey, and as early as the application process, with their application form specifically asking applicants: ’What will make your life easier as our affiliate? What do you NEED for success? :)’

The power of automated payments

“We’d used other affiliate management software before, but we really liked PartnerStack for a few reasons, including automating onboarding and communications,” said Maris. “But the most significant thing for us is automated payouts.

What makes automated payments such a big deal? Sellfy’s affiliate program is structured so that affiliates earn commission based on the lifetime value of the customers they successfully refer, starting at 25% and going up to 40%.

Sellfy’s affiliate commission structure, taken from their affiliate program landing page.

When someone signs up through an affiliate’s link — generated by PartnerStack — and becomes a paying customer, PartnerStack automatically detects the transaction and generates a reward for the partner based on which commission tier they’re in.

The rules Sellfy uses to automatically deliver affiliate commissions.

Once their rewards are ready, partners simply need to log in to PartnerStack to withdraw their payment via Stripe or PayPal.

How Sellfy explains their program on their affiliate program landing page.

That means the Sellfy team doesn’t have to spend any time worrying about whether partners get paid on time, or get paid the right amounts. “We get one invoice per month and we’re done, and we don’t have to worry about different countries and tax settings,” said Maris. “That’s huge for small businesses like ours that don't have dedicated accounting departments. We want to be focused on getting partners, not managing payouts.”

Sellfy previously used to offer partners revenue share for only the first year of a customer’s lifetime, which they were able to do by adding more rules to their payment trigger.

Additional rules for limiting partner revenue share to the first year of a customer’s lifetime.

However, that had to change once Sellfy introduced its Free user tier. “A new customer that signs up might stay on the Free plan for a month, half a year, a year or more,” said Maris. “It was no longer fair to our affiliates to give them a year of revenue share when someone could upgrade a year in.”

Thankfully, updating what partners get paid — and how long they earn a share of customer revenue — was as easy as changing a few rules inside PartnerStack.

“I know many businesses that will get set up with partnerships software and think they are good for life. It’s not like that,” says Maris. “Getting the right partners is really key for the program to be successful.”

Automating the most time-consuming and tedious parts of managing an affiliate program allows the Sellfy team to focus on work that will really move the needle on affiliate revenue: finding and engaging the right partners.

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